Net Present Value NPV Definition, Examples, How to Do NPV Analysis

discounted cash flow

The mathematical of discounting future cash flows back to the present time does not change, but we give the formula a different name. The net present value formula simply sums the future cash flows after discounting them back to the present time. To calculate the present value of a cash flow stream, you need to know the discount rate and the number of periods over which the cash flows will be spread. The discount rate is the rate of return that you require on your investment in order to break even – that is, to receive the same return as you would from investing in a risk-free security.


The purchase price is equal to the bond’s face value if the coupon rate is equal to the current interest rate of the market, and in this case, the bond is said to be sold ‘at par’. If the coupon rate is less than the market interest rate, the purchase price will be less than the bond’s face value, and the bond is said to have been sold ‘at a discount’, or below par. Finally, if the coupon rate is greater than the market interest rate, the purchase price will be greater than the bond’s face value, and the bond is said to have been sold ‘at a premium’, or above par. A perpetuity refers to periodic payments, receivable indefinitely, although few such instruments exist.

How to Calculate Future Payments

For instance, let’s aspresent value formulae that an investor is today given $1000 and chooses to invest it somewhere. If the investor was to be given the same amount 5 years later, he or she would have missed out on the opportunity. Therefore, the present value of money should either be less or equal to its future value.

To learn more, check out CFI’s free detailed financial modeling course. Let us take another example of John who won a lottery and as per its terms, he is eligible for yearly cash pay-out of $1,000 for the next 4 years. Calculate the present value of all the future cash flows starting from the end of the current year.

More explanations about Financial Sector

In the present value example, however, the interest rate is applied twice. This means that the future value problem involves compounding while present value problems involve discounting. Present value is based on the principles that money loses value over time, there is a constant rate of return on investments, and there is a discount rate that is guaranteed in some way.

The NPV formula can be very useful for financial analysis and financial modeling when determining the value of an investment (a company, a project, a cost-saving initiative, etc.). Present value is a way of representing the current value of future cash flows, based on the principle that money in the present is worth more than money in the future. Present value is used to value the income from loans, mortgages, and other assets that may take many years to realize their full value. Investors use these calculations to compare the value of assets with very different time horizons. A financial investor, thinking about what future payments are worth in the present, will need to choose an interest rate.

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